Sketching the Czech Republic: Pilsner and pastries in Prague.
“What will we eat in Prague?” my mother Janell asked me for weeks before we left for our trip.
It makes sense that she would, as I have indeed been to the city before – for three nights in 2008.
But I tried to explain that little details remained from that brief city break; that while I have “been” to Prague, I have not really been there. Not in a way that let it sink deep into my memory, anyhow, like only a few places ever do.
I didn’t remember the words for hello or thank you (dobrý deň and děkuji), I didn’t remember the local beer (Pilsner being the most popular, of course), and I certainly didn’t remember what we would eat there.
And so our first days in the city are as much of a journey of discovery for me as they are for my mother. We eat koláč for breakfast – traditional round pastries filled with cottage cheese or fruit – and at dinner our first night, dining al fresco along Michalská Street, I order my first serving of beef goulash with my first Pilsner beer.
If my shameless repetition of the word here hasn’t been any indication, let me make it clear – there have been a lot of firsts on this trip so far.
But my favorite ‘first’ of all occurs after the sun has set on Michalská Street and our plates have been cleared. As I’m finishing my first sketch of Prague in the dark – of the elegant, palatial buildings lining the cobblestoned way – our waiter Standa brings over a candle and sets it down by my paint box.
I’m surprised by how much light it casts across my sketchbook, and moved by his kind gesture.
It’s my first time sketching by candlelight, and with a final swig of my Pilsner, I have to say – I could get used to this.
September travel sketch of the month
Yes, it’s that time again! I thought my first sketch in Prague would be a fitting candidate for September’s sketch of the month. As always, I’ve uploaded it at a high resolution, so click on the sketch above, download it to your heart’s content, and go show your desktop some love, okay?
Something I’m quite excited to introduce about this trip is that I’ll be sending one reader a watercolor postcard after each new sketch story is posted. All you have to do is leave a comment on a post, and by the time the *next* sketch story is up, I’ll choose a random winner from those who have commented (makes sense, right? If it doesn’t, pllllease let me know…).
I’m super pumped to start sending some postcards your way!